First year HND Practical Journalism student Kyle suffers from Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy, a condition that means all four of his limbs are affected by tightness, and he needs to use a wheelchair full time.
When you are young and your family do everything for you, it’s normal. When you hit 20 and they are still doing everything for you, you quickly realise that it’s not normal anymore. Of course my disability means that is a little bit different for me, but it doesn’t make it feel any better about it.
Many 20-year- olds can drive, never mind pour themselves a drink, get a biscuit or bar of chocolate from the cupboard, or go out by themselves. I can’t. Don’t get me wrong, I have enough family and friends to do it for me, and they do. That doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference when it comes to how much I’d like to do it for myself.
When you reflect on the past five or six years I haven’t been out on my own, in fact I haven’t been out on my own in my life. Again, I have friends to go for a drink with or family or a carer to go to the football with but I feel bereaved of that sense of freedom, and independence.
People often say to me “look on the bright side” or “look at the things you can do” and I know they are only trying to encourage me, and be nice to me. But, trust me, that is absolutely no consolation whatsoever.
Without trying to sound overly confident I know what I’m good at and every time I get an email to go to a press conference,
I am delighted because I know for that couple of hours when I’m there and then come home to do my transcription, I will feel normal.
It’s not even the pain or tightness of my condition that bothers me. I mean some days I can feel the spasticity and think “you know what, that’s sore.”
But that goes away. What doesn’t pass is the constant reminders of the things that I can’t do. That’s always there and it eats, and eats away at me, inside my head. It probably always will but as I have grown older it has become a more prominent thought.